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   Chapter 46 A Swallow's Ball 2

If the duke desires By Hathor Rao Characters: 13871

Updated: 2018-01-24 18:53


"Sadie... are you ok?" I softly wonder

"Ok? Herve, I'm trying my best to be here right now but this is all very... Wife Game." she whispers to me as if having trouble with a mathematical calculation. I smile down at her

"So you're saying I shouldn't ask you to marry me because it would prove your theory that I want to marry you right?" I chuckle pulling her into my arms

"This is serious Herve! How do you know that it's you that wants to marry me and not..." she drifts

"not who? My Parents? The Wife Game?" I prod smiling wonderfully at the love of my life

"Do you really think that I will wake up thirty years from now and realize that I really meant to propose to Aunt Espeth instead of you?" I inquire lifting her gaze to mine

"I love you." I state

"Why me?" she wonders exasperatedly

"because no one can stand me quite like you do." I chuckle softly, looking right into her eyes and caressing the side of her face

"Why now?" she pries tenderly

"Because I'm sure now." I shrug

"Why here?" she prods

"because that night when we sat here by the swings talking, I had an idea on exactly how I was going to do this... and you're kind of spoiling my idea pumpkin butt." I lean in and press my lips against hers, the familiar shiver lazily slithers down my spine.

"What was your idea?" she sighs lovingly

"Well, first I was going to lure you here under the pretext of catching some air..." I start, she smiles at that

"But we're here because you always want to punch Luke in the face for some reason." she lightly points out

"He's a demon that's why." I stiffly state watching the humor light up her eyes

"And now that we're here?" she pries changing the subject

"now that we're here I give you a small history lesson about the McClure proposal tradition." I reveal tenderly

"is it cheesy?" she wonders brightly

"There are some stubborn cows involved so it might be." I retort watching her roll her eyes at me. I know mother will get me back for that one

"Should I sit down or is it short?" she wonders

"Once upon a time in about 1836 or what-have-you, my third great grand father fell in love with a woman from the enemy camp." I start. Her eyes widen in excitement

"This is some Judith McNaught plot-twist shit innit?" she cheerfully says

"I literally have no idea what you're talking about." I admit. This was not going according to any plan I ever had

"Ok, was your third great grandfather some kind of super hot soldierish noble member of the ton who was known for panty-dropping and being super-rich through some vague war trade?" she inquires

"I mean there's a page in history about the handsomeness of all McClure men..." I shrug lovingly, though that sounded exactly like my grandfather Somerset McClure

"And did he, in his rugged most handsome form either fall for a sweet innocent little boyish peach who could make him laugh and then suddenly grew up to be the most desirable member of high society or a super smart spunky lady who hated him on sight instead of dropping her panties for him." she investigates as I realize that was really the nexus of all romances in my family. Mother had been the sweet innocent boyish peach and Sadie was the super smart spunky lady that hated me on sight, just like my third great grandmother in this story was.

"What kind of sorcery is this?" I wonder befuddled as she smugly smiles up at me

"And how exactly was your third great grandmother the enemy?" she wonders

"She was..." I lean in, watching the anticipation build "English." I whisper

"Oh the scandal!" she dryly says

"it was. She was the Duke of Hamilton's only daughter too, so you know she was meant for higher things." I add. Sadie studies me as if to wonder how I thought any of this relevant to the proposal, but it is. I promise.

"Her name was Merida and she was brave?" she wonders and it's my turn to roll my eyes

"so my third great grandfather kidnapped her... I mean they say kidnapped, because her father didn't approve...but when he brought her home turns out his parents didn't approve either. So poor third great grandma Sorcha suffere

to involve father and the family jet in it.

"Can that be slightly postponed? We must confer about you taking over the duchy Herve." he announces, avoiding eye contact with me as he speaks

"Why can't I take over at your death as it usually is." I wonder fixing my engagement ring on my fingers

"Because I'm dying and I would much rather enjoy my last than be wrought by paperwork and duties." he shrugs nonchalantly, reaching for his cigars

I study him shakily opening the case and picking one out, which he tosses at me, and then picking another for himself

"Soft tissue sarcoma." he says lighting his cigar as if to answer the very question I had in mind. Father was dying????

Father was dying.

"Shall we have the ceremony then? I think your mother and I could enjoy Carlifornia as well no?" he inquires lightly, my mouth falls slightly open at this.

_________________________________

"She went up to her room, I think." Aunt Espeth says. I was scouring the crowd for Sadie, I needed to talk to her about Father, her parents and the secrets between us. I kiss Aunt Espeth on the cheek and shamelessly rush off upstairs. For a second as I'm running up the stairs I think I see some gold effluvium floating by a window towards the left. I stop for a minute to stare but there's nothing by the window and I must be going mad. I'm about to walk back up the stairs when a car starts and now I'm too drawn to the window to keep going up the stairs, so I walk towards it. This is stupid, of course some guests are leaving! I try and calm my racing heart as the light from the car blinds me before the car speeds off. Irrationally, I run to the window, just in time to see the telling gold effluvium float in the air and into the foggy night as the car drives off. Sadie.

Sadie?

"SADIE??!!!!" I shout, eyes wide and heart racing.

I hear my shout echo the halls as I turn around and run back upstairs, I can vaguely see Father rushing to my side along with a number of guests. I burst through the door to the princess room; she's not in here, and the french doors to her balcony are wide open with a telling trail of bed sheets that lead all the way down to the ground floor. I can barely breathe now as I approach the french doors, it's not even the chipper night breeze that's is causing me pain. Vaguely I can here voices behind me, Father is among them, but I have no need for words right now, not if they're not from Sadie. Did she really leave me here? Are there secrets she had to attend to at this hour? Who did she run off with?

The last thought spikes an ire in my heart as I growl underneath my breath.

"You look surprised to see me, as if I'd miss the chance to whisk you away from your own engagement party."

"LUCAS!!!!"

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